Plan your perfect holiday with Nicola Smith

Nicola Smith
Kuoni Cambridge

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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?

It’s hard to choose but Koh Lanta in Thailand is definitely one of the best. I stayed in a traditional bungalow perched on the top a hill overlooking Kan Tieng bay. Every morning I had a beautiful breakfast gazing across the panoramic views of the glistening turquoise sea. The sunsets from there were incredible too, enjoyed with a tasty cocktail from the bar. Not to mention in the company of the friendly resident monkeys. It was my idea of paradise, so much so I stayed for a month!

What's your oddest travel moment?

I think the strangest travel moments were experienced during the train journey from Deli to the Taj Mahal. Simply taking in the culture in India is one thing but the train journeys really are unique! We had people coming up and down the aisles selling everything from keyrings to footballs and at one point a lady dotted a bindi on my forehead with her finger. The whole thing was like the scene from Slumdog Millionaire and I loved every minute of it.

Have you had a perfect travel moment?

I’ve been lucky to have so many perfect travel moments that I’ll talk about the most recent which was my Birthday last year in Naples. It started in true Italian style with a cappuccino and pastry, people watching in the bustling square. We then went up to the top of Castel San’tElmo to see the best views in Naples, you get to see the intricacy of the city plus Mount Vesuvius and the sea. This was followed by an amazing 5 course lunch in a lovely little restaurant tucked away down a side street. You could tell it was a local favourite and the food and the wine were sublime and it’s an experience I’ll always remember.

What are your suitcase essentials?

Has to be coconut oil because it has so many uses including a natural SPF protection and moisturiser. I also don’t travel without my little Bluetooth speaker so I can always play music wherever I am

Where's next on your wishlist?

I’m a huge animal lover so the places I’ve always wanted to visit are Borneo and help at an Orangutan sanctuary or the Galapagos Islands for the diverse species it’s famous for. Costa Rica is also on the list, along with so many others!

Nicola’s first travel experiences started at 18 months old on a road trip to Spain with her parents and she enjoyed holiday’s to Europe every year since. In 2007 a solo trip to Australia followed by South America, Thailand and India sparked the passion for travelling further afield, which is still growing today. Most recently Nicola spent two months travelling in Italy and has a real love for the country